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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Rwanda angry about Hutus leaving Congo
Rebel soldiers
There are many rebel and foreign forces in Congo
Rwanda says the Congolese decision to allow Hutu rebels to leave the country "does not satisfy" the Pretoria peace accord.

The Rwandan Foreign Ministry says that Rwandan rebel leaders should not be allowed to go free.

On Tuesday, the Kinshasa government banned the political activities of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan group representing some of the Hutu rebels who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The government gave FDLR leaders 72 hours to leave the country.

But the United Nations special representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Amos Namanga Ngongi, has welcomed the Congolese government's decision

He said the expulsion of 25 Rwandan Hutu leaders was a positive move, which was important for the security of Rwanda.

Presidential deal

The Pretoria accord, signed by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in July, requires the government in Kinshasa to disarm and repatriate Rwandan Hutu rebels present in the country.

The banning of the Hutu group was a response to a request from the US president to President Kabila when they met in Washington in early September, according to the Congolese official in charge of overseeing the peace process.

Rwandan troops leaving Kindu
Rwandan troops have started pulling out of DR Congo

Following the Pretoria agreement in July, Rwandan troops have started withdrawing from DR Congo.

Ugandan and Zimbabwean troops are also pulling out.

The foreign troops have been in Congo since 1998, when Rwanda and Uganda sent forces in to support rebels fighting the government in Kinshasa.

Zimbabwean soldiers supported the government.

The Rwandan government has warned of a possible power vacuum as all the forces move out.

There is a small UN observer force in the Congo. On Wednesday, the South African government said it will send 1,500 troops to DR Congo as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, said the troops would assist the 200 South African troops already stationed there with the UN.

Rebels at large

The secretary general of the Rwandan Foreign Ministry said his country objected to the Congolese action, which he said would allow the Hutus rebels to "leave Congolese territory and remain at large".

Joseph Mutaboba said that the Hutu FDLR movement was "a simple creation of the Congolese Government", according to the French news agency AFP.

He said the men should have been handed over to the Rwandan Government, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or the UN observer mission in Congo.

The Congolese Government said that the banning of the FDLR and the demand that its leaders leave the country were evidence of its "engagement" in the peace process.

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See also:

24 Sep 02 | Africa
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